William Morris and his art

William Morris is an icon for everyone who loves beauty, design and traditional craftsmanship. He laid down the fundamental principles which became the base of the revival of the arts and crafts, endorsing an aesthetic of individualism.

William Morris y su arte

He is a source of inspiration for ÁBBATTE, as he restored the spirit of medieval arts and crafts and especially because he loved handmade textiles. He made rugs, seat cushions, upholstery fabric and tapestries that were always woven with rich materials such as wools, silks and linens. He placed high importance on colour and consequently obtained his subtle tones of inks naturally, from indigos, madder plants, walnut trees and many other plants.

Using these colours, he made his “Morris chintz”, famous in the tapestries of the Victorian families.

Morris felt great passion, especially for natural beauty, he strongly rejected ostentation, the bland, the superfluous and lack of taste. He proclaimed “That which is not based on nature, will have difficulty being beautiful”. He was a devotee of simple lines.

His dedication covered many other areas of creation and design. He devised his own books using handmade paper and designed his own typography. He was the creator of the Kemscott Press, which was the inspiration for many other presses. He was also a great town planner, proclaiming himself as an advocate for the conservation of old and ancient buildings without intervention.

Furthermore, he was a great businessman, creating the company Arts & Crafts, which designed all kinds of decorative objects from tiles and stained glass to embroideries and fabrics. He received a large quantity of private commissions and two very valuable commissions were the Tapestry Room at St. James’s Palace and the Green Dining Room at the South Kensington Museum (now called the V&A). Another significant aspect that proves his creative capacity was the fact that during all his life he was a great poet. Lastly, Morris was a big critic of 19th Century British society being a great social activist.

All this shows us the great ability and energy that Morris exhibited in a wide variety of aspects, and through the work of the William Morris Society, his work continues today.

Text: María Olmos Mochales